Bar soaps aren’t typically the first thing we think about when it comes to cleansing the skin. To be honest, whenever I hear the words “bar soap”, I always think back to my mom furiously rubbing my face with Irish Spring. What was once a leading beauty product has now been eclipsed by its liquid alternatives.
However, thanks to the improvement of formulas and the vast variety of soaps, the new wave of bar soaps are gentler, even luxurious, and seriously next-level. I’m talking hydration, anti-aging properties, soothing ingredients, and lovely, uplifting scents. So bid adieu to those bad bar soap memories (sorry, Mom!) and say hello to your new beauty MVP.
Here, our top bar soap picks that your skin will love.
Best Overall: Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
We love this tried-and-true all-star. This award-winning bar is ultra-gentle, great for skin that tends to be dry, sensitive, or easily irritated. While it does replenish skin’s natural oils for hydration and softness, it also effectively cleanses to rid your skin of dirt, excess oil, and environmental pollution. Because the formula is so mild, it’s perfectly safe to use on the face and body and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Best Budget: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar
Developed with dermatologists, this bar feels so lovely on the skin. Hyaluronic acid and ceramideshydrate and plump, so expect a fuller, more youthful complexion after use. Because it’s made with 5% CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, this moisturizing formula is made for thirsty skin, though all skin types can reap its benefits.
Best Classic: Dove White Beauty Bar
This bar soap has a permanent home in the bathrooms of many thanks in large part to its moisturizing formula that doesn't dry out the skin or cause irritation as it gently cleanses. Suitable for use on the face, body, and hands, this classic formula leaves skin feeling smooth and soft, and looking visibly more radiant all at the same time.
Best for Dry Skin: Lush Olive Tree Soap
Touted as a “gourmet soap”—we’re hungry already—this olive-oil-laced soap has unbelievable lather and quite the invigorating scent. It’s refreshing and hydrating, leaving your skin supple and plump. One user notes that the scent reminds her of her grandparents’ orchard, so prepare to be transported.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant JuJu Bar
What makes this powerhouse soap unique is it’s low pH level—other soaps typically have a pH-level of 9, while this one, in particular, is lower at 6.34. This means that while it does cleanse your skin, it doesn’t strip it, making it ideal for sensitive types. It has a plethora of benefits from removing dead skin cells through gentle exfoliation to emptying out pores of debris and excess oil.
Best for Dull Skin: Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap
Slough away dead surface cells with this lush exfoliating soap, made up of nourishing oils and omegas that help to restore your skin’s hydration. Its main ingredient, seaberry oil, is a restorative healer that gives your complexion a smooth and radiant glow.
Best for Oily Skin: L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap
Newsflash: If you have oily skin, the best way to combat it is by moisturizing it. Your skin overproduces oils when it isn’t hydrated enough, hence the grease fest that can occur. Rather than stripping it even further, it’s best to use products with replenishing ingredients, like this extra-gentle soap made with shea butter and sunflower seed oil. Users find the subtle lavender scent to be calming and relaxing, so it’s the perfect addition to your bath routine.
Best for Acne: Origins Clear Improvement Purifying Charcoal Body Soap
This charcoal soap dives deep into your skin to purify and detoxify your pores. Excess oil, dirt, and debris are flushed out, revealing a clean and refreshed complexion. The combo of essential oils and wintergreen battle impurities without drying out the skin.
Best for Eczema: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cleansing Bar
Eczema-prone skin can be unpredictable. One day, your skin seems fine—another day, it can be the fussiest it’s ever been. Because of this, it’s important to find a bar soap that doesn’t exacerbate these issues. Enter: A super-soothing bar soap that won’t irritate finicky skin. It’s infused with colloidal oatmeal, a known skin-calmer that helps with everything from irritation to inflammation. This formula is so gentle, it can be used every day, several times a day.
Best for Multitasking: Meant The Every Body Bar
Here’s one for the minimalists. This bar literally does it all. It's a face bar, body bar, and hand bar all in one. It majorly protects against environmental damage, thanks to goat’s milk, coconut, and grapeseed oil. Although it’s a treat to have for yourself, users also love the stylish packaging, which makes it perfect to gift to someone special.
Best for Itchy Skin: All Terrain Ditch The Itch Bar
When the itch is real, you need something strong enough to keep it at bay. Whether it’s a skin condition, reaction to poison ivy, eczema, or rashes, this heavy-duty soap will naturally cleanse and soothe these irritations. Formulated with healing neem oil and antibacterial tea tree oil, it’s definitely a soap everyone needs in their arsenal.
Best for Body: Krigler America One 31 Soap
Created in 1931, this luxurious soap, penned the “President scent,” is equal parts commanding and captivating with notes of bergamot, cumin, and mandarin. It’s perfect for those who love fragrance but dislike the too-strong scent that a spray may provide.